The Wal-Mart Decade - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
The Wal-Mart Decade: How a New Generation of Leaders Turned Sam Walton's Legacy into the World's #1 Company was destined for publication. It was simply a matter of when it would be written and by whom. In fact, I'm amazed that it wasn't published long before this. Wal-Mart is so much more than the smiling faces of the senior citizens who greet you with open arms at the front of the store, it's more than the bouncing Smiley Face continually reducing prices in every aisle, and it's certainly much more than a typical discount store chain headquartered in the small Arkansas town of Bentonville. Wal-Mart is the real thing. It's here to stay. It's a world-class company.
There is much to learn from this corporate giant that recently moved into the #1 spot on the Fortune 500 ahead of GM, Exxon Oil, Ford Motor, and GE. Do you think Wal-Mart simply stumbled into that coveted position? Consider this:
- Wal-Mart has revenues of $246 Billion;
- Wal-Mart has 1 million 300 thousand employees;
- Wal-Mart has mastered logistics and the supply chain;
- Wal-Mart shares its strategic vision with each and every employee;
- Wal-Mart leaders never rest on their laurels;
- Wal-Mart continually find ways to reduce costs while improving the shopping experience for its customers;
- Wal-Mart is the first company ever to head both the Fortune 500 list of American companies and that magazine's list of Most Admired Companies; and
- the Wal-Mart management team has devised and then implemented strategies for rapid but prudent growth.
The greatest strength in the Wal-Mart arsenal is the fact that their CULTURE is everything. It's hard to argue with the reality of Wal-Mart's continued performance.
I think it's important to realize that the author of this book isn't a devoted Wal-Mart fan trying to recruit additional followers for the retail giant. Robert Slater was a reporter for Time Magazine for 21 years. He is the best-selling author of Jack Welch and the GE Way and has also written acclaimed books about IBM and Cisco. He probed deeply into the Wal-Mart organization from top to bottom, from Bentonville to China and beyond. This book offers a fresh and fascinating look at this unique company-as it was and as it has become-with an immediacy and insider's feel unrivaled since Sam Walton's own memoir, Made In America.
Sam Walton set the bar high for his future leaders. He created a unique culture based on three basic beliefs:
Respect for the individual;
Service to the customers; and
Striving for excellence.
Walton was also totally committed to what he characterized as his Ten Rules of Business ... each of which is explained in detail in the book. The author allocates three of 14 chapters to "The Founder and His Legacy." He wisely devotes the remainder of his book to explaining how the new management team devised and then implemented strategies for tremendous growth.
There really have been three quite different periods of Wal-Mart's development from a Ben Franklin franchise (opened in Bentonville as the Walton 5 and 10 in March of 1951) to the global retailing giant it is today. The three periods include the Sam Walton Years until his death in 1992, the David Glass Years (1992-2000), and the Lee Scott Years (2000-Present).
For years, many people asked about Wal-Mart the same question that others asked about Southwest Airlines: "What's going to happen after HE leaves?" With all due respect to both Sam Walton and Herb Kelleher, their respective organizations have done just fine. Perhaps that is the ultimate test of leadership: a heritage which endures after the leader is either gone or much less involved. In this exceptionally informative book, Slater explains how and why such a heritage guides and inspires the entire Wal-Mart organization.
More than 100 business book reviews written by Harry K. Jones are available at www.AchieveMax.com/books/index.htm">http://www.AchieveMax.com/books/.
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www.AchieveMax.com/motivational-speaker-harry.htm">Harry K. Jones is a professional speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a firm specializing in custom-designed keynote presentations, seminars, and consulting services. Harry has made presentations ranging from leadership to employee retention and time management to stress management for a number of industries, including education, financial, government, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing. He can be reached at 800-886-2MAX or by visiting www.AchieveMax.com">http://www.AchieveMax.com.
Clive King, who has died aged 94, was the author of several children's books and is best known for Stig of the Dump, the original and imaginative fantasy story of the friendship between Barney, a boy of the modern era, with Stig, a boy from long, long ago who lives in a nearby chalk pit in a home created from things he can creatively and skilfully repurpose from waste, including a chimney from tin cans and windows from glass bottles....
Films based on books might have the intolerable disadvantage of people smugly claiming "the book is so much better", but they also result in a huge boost at the box office.
According to new research from the Publishers Association, films based on books take 44% more at the box office in the UK and 53% more worldwide than original screenplays.
..."In short, published material is the basis of 52% of top UK films in the last 10 years, and accounts for an even higher share of revenue from these leading performers, at 61% of UK box office gross and 65% of worldwide gross," the report reads.
The New York Times has a rare interview with Anne Tyler to coincide with the publication of her latest novel, Clock Dance. Tyler rarely does interviews because she dislikes the way they make her feel the next morning. "I'll go upstairs to my writing room to do my regular stint of work and I'll probably hear myself blathering on about writing and I won't do a very good job that day. I always say that the way you write a novel is for the first 83 drafts you pretend that nobody is ever, ever going to read it."
The good news for fans is that Tyler has no plans to retire: "What happens is six months go by after I finish a book," she said "and I start to go out of my mind. I have no hobbies, I don't garden, I hate travel. The impetus is not inspiration, just a feeling that I better do this. There's something addictive about leading another life at the same time you're living your own." She paused and added: "If you think about it, it's a very strange way to make a living."
The New York Times reports on the changing face of the romance novel genre:
...The landscape is slowly starting to change, as more diverse writers break into the genre, and publishers take chances on love stories that reflect a broader range of experiences and don't always fit the stereotypical girl-meets-boy mold. Forever Yours, an imprint at Grand Central, publishes Karelia Stetz-Waters, who writes romances about lesbian couples. Uzma Jalaluddin's debut novel, Ayesha at Last, takes place in a close-knit immigrant Muslim community in Canada, and features an outspoken Muslim heroine who falls for a more conservative Muslim man, a Darcy to her Lizzie Bennett...
...."Readers want books that reflect the world they live in, and they won't settle for a book about a small town where every single person is white," said Leah Koch, co-owner of the romance bookstore the Ripped Bodice in Culver City, Calif. Last year, six of her store's top 10 best-selling novels were written by authors of color, Ms. Koch said.
Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient (Bloomsbury), the story of an injured, anonymous English WWII pilot and his Italian nurse, has been named the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize, awarded to the best work of fiction previously awarded the Man Booker Prize over the last 50 years.
In a brief statement released late Tuesday afternoon, Barnes & Noble said CEO Demos Parneros (who had been named CEO in April 2017) had been terminated for "violations of the Company's policies." While not saying what policies Parneros violated, B&N said his termination "is not due to any disagreement with the Company regarding its financial reporting, policies, or practices or any potential fraud relating thereto." In addition to being fired immediately, Parneros will not receive any severance, B&N said. B&N said Parneros's removal was undertaken by its board of directors, who were advised by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
In his first interview since being accused of inappropriate behavior with women, celebrated novelist Junot Díaz adamantly denied the allegations, including a claim he once "forcibly kissed" writer Zinzi Clemmons.
Díaz, who was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, said he was "distressed," "confused," and "panicked" by the accusations, but insisted he had not bullied the women or been sexually inappropriate.
Harlan Ellison, a major figure in the New Wave of science fiction writers in the 1960s who became a legend in science fiction and fantasy circles for his award-winning stories and notoriously outspoken and combative persona, died this week 84. During his life, he wrote more than 1,700 stories, film and TV scripts. The Guardian recommends five of his best...
Donald Hall, a prolific and award-winning poet and man of letters who was widely admired for his sharp humor and painful candor about nature, mortality, baseball and the distant past, has died. He was 89.
Atlas Obscura explains the history behind the, arguably nonsensical, grammar rule about not ending a sentence with a preposition which, "all goes back to 17th-century England and a fusspot named John Dryden":
There are thousands of individual rules for proper grammatical use of any given language; mostly, these are created, and then taught, in order to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. But the English language prohibition against "preposition stranding"--ending a sentence with a preposition like with, at, or of--is not like this. It is a fantastically stupid rule that when followed often has the effect of mangling a sentence. And yet for hundreds of years, schoolchildren have been taught to create disastrously awkward sentences like "With whom did you go?"
...Born in 1631, John Dryden was the most important figure throughout the entire Restoration period of the late 17th century... Dryden twice stated an opposition to preposition stranding. In an afterword for one of his own plays, he criticized Ben Jonson for doing this, saying: "The preposition in the end of the sentence; a common fault with him, and which I have but lately observed in my own writing." Later, in a letter to a young writer who had asked for advice, he wrote: "In the correctness of the English I remember I hinted somewhat of concludding [sic] your sentences with prepositions or conjunctions sometimes, which is not elegant, as in your first sentence."
Dryden does not state why he finds this to be "not elegant." And yet somehow this completely unexplained, tiny criticism, buried in his mountain of works, lodged itself in the grammarian mind, and continued to be taught for hundreds of years later. This casual little comment would arguably be Dryden's most enduring creation.